International Year of Chemistry


14 September 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry ensured that the upcoming International Year of Chemistry was mentioned on live national radio yesterday afternoon.

Interviewed by presenter Simon Mayo on his peak-time Radio 2 "Drivetime" show, RSC chief executive Richard Pike grasped the opportunity of plugging the IYC when discussing the properties of helium.

Helium had been featured a few days earlier because of claims that there was a global shortage. 

The RSC media office was approached because of the RSC's existing profile on the BBC. Within this interview Richard was able to cover:

  • why breathing helium gives a squeaky voice (largely, effect of increased speed of sound on harmonics) 
  • comparison with sulfur hexafluoride (denser, low speed of sound) 
  • use of heliox gas mixture for divers, and reasons for this, including allusion to partial pressure of oxygen 
  • use of 'interpreters' for helium language communication in subsea operations 
  • source of helium through alpha particles and subterranean radioactive disintegration 
  • link between prevalence of helium leaking at the at the surface and nuclear reactions that have maintained the Earth's core temperature for 4 billion years 
  • plug for International Year of Chemistry (IYC) in 2011 as an opportunity to explore more widely, in a similar manner, the way in which chemistry is all pervasive 

International Year of Chemistry

Involvement in the IUPAC International Year of Chemistry 2011 by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Chemistry in its element: interactive periodic table

Chemistry World's whirlwind tour of the periodic table: a leading scientist or author tells the story behind each element

Related Links

Link icon The BBC 'listen again' facility
the Radio 2 interview starts at 0.19.46


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Contact and Further Information

Press Office
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0)1223 432294
Fax: +44 (0)1223 426594